Wednesday, February 12, 2003

During the go-go nineties, several top-tier accounting firms got into the business of marketing tax-evasion schemes to the wealthy, which generally used an Enron-esque web of shell companies, trusts, and legal fictions to hide the cash from the taxman. The deal that was offered was simple: instead of paying taxes at a high rate to the government now, you can pay a smaller fee to your friends at Ernst and Young.

Now, these arrangements have come under the baleful eye of IRS enforcement, and they're starting to unravel, with the result that one Sprint exective alone may wind up personally owing more than $100 million in back taxes. And the people who ponied up for these schemes are reacting the way any red-blooded American would --- not by admitting their error, and belatedly ponying up some cash to help maintain the society that has conferred these benefits upon them, but rather by suing the accountants.

The Bush administration, fortunately, does see a problem here. The problem it sees is that these people had to pay large fees to accountants to avoid paying taxes. Which is presumably why they've floated a scheme which would allow the wealthy to shelter their investment income from taxes completely without all those hefty fees.

That's our Dubya --- making it easy for the rich to love their country.


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